18B-702. Financial operations of local boards.

(a) Generally. - A local board may transact business as a corporate body, except as limited by this section. A local board shall not be considered a public authority under G.S. 159-7(b)(10).

(b) Budget Officer. - The general manager of the local board shall be the budget officer for the local board. In the absence of a general manager, a local board may impose the duties of budget officer on the chairman or any member of the local board or any other employee of the board.

(c) Annual Balanced Budget. - Each local board shall operate under an annual balanced budget administered in accordance with this section. A budget is balanced when the sum of estimated gross revenues and both restricted and unrestricted funds are equal to appropriations. Expenditures shall not exceed the amount of funds received or in reserve for the purpose to which the funds are appropriated. It is the intent of this section that all monies received and expended by a local board should be included in the budget. Therefore, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no local board may expend any monies, regardless of their source, except in accordance with a budget adopted under this section. The budget of a local board shall cover a fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30.

(d) Preparation and Submission of Budget and Budget Message. - Upon receipt of the budget requests and revenue estimates and the financial information supplied by the finance officer, the budget officer shall prepare a budget for consideration by the local board in such form and detail as may have been prescribed by the budget officer or the local board. The budget, together with a budget message, shall be submitted to the local board, the appointing authority, and the Commission not later than June 1. The budget and budget message should, but need not, be submitted at a formal meeting of the board. The budget message should contain a concise explanation of the goals fixed by the budget for the budget year, explain important features of the activities anticipated in the budget, set forth the reasons for stated changes from the previous year in appropriation levels, and explain any major changes in fiscal policy.

(e) Filing and Publication of the Budget. - On the same day the budget officer submits the budget to the local board, the budget officer shall make a copy for public inspection, and it shall remain available for public inspection until the budget is adopted. The budget officer shall make a copy of the budget available to all news media in the county. The budget officer shall also publish a statement that the budget has been submitted to the local board and is available for public inspection in the office of the general manager of the local board. The statement shall also give notice of the time and place of the budget hearing required by subsection (f) of this section.

(f) Budget Hearings. - Before adopting the budget, the board shall hold a public hearing at which time any persons who wish to be heard on the budget may appear.

(g) Adoption of Budget. - Not earlier than 10 days after the day the budget is presented to the board and not later than July 1, the local board shall adopt a budget making appropriations for the budget year in such sums as the board may consider sufficient and proper, whether greater or less than the sums recommended in the budget. The budget shall authorize all financial transactions of the local board. The budget may be in any form that the board considers most efficient in enabling it to make the fiscal policy decisions embodied therein, but it shall make appropriations by department, function, or project and show revenues by major source. The following directions and limitations shall bind the local board in adopting the budget:

(1) The full amount estimated by the finance officer to be required for debt service during the budget year shall be appropriated.

(2) The full amount of any deficit in each fund shall be appropriated.

(3) Working capital funds set aside pursuant to G.S. 18B-805 shall be established by rule of the Commission. "Working capital" means the total of cash, investments, and inventory less all unsecured liabilities. Gross sales means gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages less distributions as defined in G.S. 18B-805(b)(2), (3), (4), and (5). Any expenditure to be charged against working capital funds shall be authorized by resolution of the local board, which resolution shall be deemed an amendment to the budget setting up an appropriation for the object of expenditure authorized. The local board may authorize the budget officer to authorize expenditures from working capital funds subject to such limitations and procedures as it may prescribe. Any such expenditure shall be deemed an amendment and reported to the board at its next regular meeting and recorded in the minutes.

(4) Estimated revenues shall include only those revenues reasonably expected to be realized in the budget year.

(5) Sufficient funds to meet the amounts to be paid during the fiscal year under continuing contracts previously entered into shall be appropriated unless such contract reserves to the local board the right to limit or not to make such appropriation.

(6) The sum of estimated net revenues and appropriated fund balance in each fund shall be equal to appropriations in that fund. Appropriated fund balance in a fund shall not exceed the sum of cash and investments minus the sum of liabilities, encumbrances, and deferred revenues arising from cash receipts, as those figures stand at the close of the fiscal year next preceding the budget year.

The budget shall be entered in the minutes of the local board and within five days after adoption, and copies thereof shall be filed with the finance officer, the budget officer, the appointing authority, and the Commission.

(h) Amendments to the Budget. - Except as otherwise restricted by law, the local board may amend the budget at any time after adoption, in any manner, so long as the budget, as amended, continues to satisfy the requirements of this section. The local board by appropriate resolution may authorize the budget officer to transfer monies from one appropriation to another within the same fund subject to such limitations and procedures as it may prescribe. Any such transfers shall be reported to the local board at its next regular meeting and shall be entered in the minutes. Amendments to the adopted budget shall also be provided to the appointing authority and the Commission.

(i) Interim Budget. - In case the adoption of the budget is delayed until after July 1, the local board shall make interim appropriations for the purpose of paying salaries, debt service payments, and the usual ordinary expenses of the local board for the interval between the beginning of the budget year and the adoption of the budget. Interim appropriations so made shall be charged to the proper appropriations in the adopted budget.

(j) Finance Officer. - Except as otherwise provided, the local board shall designate (i) a part-time or full-time employee of the board other than the general manager or (ii) the finance officer of the appointing authority with consent of the appointing authority to be the finance officer for the local board. The Commission, for good cause shown, may grant a waiver to allow the general manager of a board also to be the finance officer. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the fact that the board operates no more than two stores, and any approval for the general manager also to be the finance officer shall apply until the board operates more than two stores; in any event, the approval shall be effective for 36 months. The Commission may grant one or more waivers to a board.

(k) Duties and Powers of the Finance Officer. - The finance officer for a local board shall:

(1) Keep the accounts of the local board in accordance with generally accepted principles of governmental accounting and the rules and regulations of the Commission.

(2) Disburse all funds of the local board in strict compliance with this Chapter, the budget, preaudit obligations, and disbursements as required by this section.

(3) As often as may be requested by the local board or the general manager, prepare and file with the board a statement of the financial condition of the local board.

(4) Receive and deposit all monies accruing to the local board, or supervise the receipt and deposit of money by other duly authorized employees.

(5) Maintain all records concerning the debt and other obligations of the local board, determine the amount of money that will be required for debt service or the payment of other obligations during each fiscal year, and maintain all funds.

(6) Supervise the investment of idle funds of the local board pursuant to subsection (t) of this section.

The finance officer shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by law, by the general manager, budget officer, or local board, or by rules and regulations of the Commission.

(l) Accounting System. - Each local board shall establish and maintain an accounting system designed to show in detail its assets, liabilities, equities, revenues, and expenditures. The system shall also be designed to show appropriations and estimated revenues as established in the budget originally adopted and subsequently amended.

(m) Incurring Obligations. - No obligation may be incurred in a program, function, or activity accounted for in a fund included in the budget unless the budget includes an appropriation authorizing the obligation and an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the transaction for the current fiscal year. No obligation may be incurred for a capital project unless the budget authorizes the obligation and an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay the sums obligated by the transaction. If an obligation is evidenced by a contract or agreement requiring the payment of money or by a purchase order for supplies and materials, the contract, agreement, or purchase order shall include on its face a certificate stating that the instrument has been preaudited to assure compliance with this subsection. The certificate, which shall be signed by the finance officer or any deputy finance officer approved for this purpose by the local board, shall take substantially the following form:

"This instrument has been preaudited in the manner required by G.S. 18B-702.

_______________________

(Signature of finance officer)."

An obligation incurred in violation of this subsection is invalid and may not be enforced. The finance officer shall establish procedures to assure compliance with this subsection.

(n) Disbursements. - When a bill, invoice, or other claim against a local board is presented, the finance officer shall either approve or disapprove the necessary disbursement. If the claim involves a program, function, or activity accounted for in a fund included in the budget or a capital project or a grant project authorized by the budget, the finance officer may approve the claim only if:

(1) The finance officer determines the amount to be payable; and

(2) The budget includes an appropriation authorizing the expenditure and either (i) an encumbrance has been previously created for the transaction or (ii) an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay the amount to be disbursed.

A bill, invoice, or other claim may not be paid unless it has been approved by the finance officer or, under subsection (o) of this section, by the local board. The finance officer shall establish procedures to assure compliance with this subsection.

(o) Local Board Approval of Bills, Invoices, or Claims. - The local board may, as permitted by this subsection, approve a bill, invoice, or other claim against the local board that has been disapproved by the finance officer. It may not approve a claim for which no appropriation appears in the budget, or for which the appropriation contains no encumbrance and the unencumbered balance is less than the amount to be paid. The local board shall approve payment by formal resolution stating the board's reasons for allowing the bill, invoice, or other claim. The resolution shall be entered in the minutes together with the names of those voting in the affirmative. The chairman of the board or some other member designated for this purpose shall sign the certificate on the check or draft given in payment of the bill, invoice, or other claim. If payment results in a violation of law, each member of the board voting to allow payment is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the check or draft given in payment.

(p) Checks or Drafts Signed by Finance Officer. - Except as otherwise provided by law, all checks or drafts on an official depository shall be signed by the finance officer or a properly designated deputy finance officer. The chairman of the local board or general manager of the local board shall countersign these checks and drafts. The Commission may waive the requirements of this subsection if the board determines that the internal control procedures of the unit or authority will be satisfactory in the absence of dual signatures.

(q) Payment of a Bill, Invoice, Salary, or Claim. - A local board may not pay a bill, invoice, salary, or other claim except by a check or draft on an official depository or by a bank wire transfer from an official depository. Except as provided in this subsection, each check or draft on an official depository shall bear on its face a certificate signed by the finance officer or a deputy finance officer approved for this purpose by the local board (or signed by the chairman or some other member of the board pursuant to subsection (o) of this section). The certificate shall take substantially the following form

"This disbursement has been approved in the manner required by G.S. 18B-702.

_______________________

(Signature of finance officer)."

No certificate is required on payroll checks or drafts on an imprest account in an official depository if the check or draft depositing the funds in the imprest account carried a signed certificate. No certificate is required for expenditures of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less from a petty cash fund, provided the expenditure is accounted for by a receipt for the expended item.

(r) Borrowing Money. - A local board may borrow money only for the purchase of land, buildings, equipment and stock needed for the operation of its ABC system. A local board may pledge a security interest in any real or personal property it owns other than alcoholic beverages. A city or county whose governing body appoints a local board shall not in any way be held responsible for the debts of that board.

(s) Audits. - A local board shall submit to the appointing authority and Commission an annual independent audit of its operations, performed in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and in compliance with a chart of accounts prescribed by the Commission. The audit report shall contain a summary of the requirements of this Chapter, or of any local act applicable to that local board, concerning the distribution of profits of that board and a description of how those distributions have been made, including the names of recipients of the profits and the activities for which the funds were distributed. A local board shall also submit to any other audits and submit any reports demanded by the appointing authority or the Commission.

(t) Deposits and Investments. - A local board may deposit monies at interest in any bank or trust company in this State in the form of savings accounts or certificates of deposit. Investment deposits shall be secured as provided in G.S. 159-31(b) and the reports required by G.S. 159-33 shall be submitted. A local board may invest all or part of the cash balance of any fund as provided in G.S. 159-30(c) and (d), and may deposit any portion of those funds for investment with the State Treasurer in the same manner as State boards and commissions under G.S. 147-69.3.

(u) Compliance with Commission Rules. - The Commission shall adopt, and each local board shall comply with, fiscal control rules concerning the borrowing of money, maintenance of working capital, investments, appointment of a budget officer, appointment of a financial officer, daily deposit of funds, bonding of employees, auditing of operations, and the schedule, manner and other procedures for distribution of profits. The Commission may also adopt any other rules concerning the financial operations of local boards which are needed to assure the proper accountability of public funds. The Commission may vary these rules and regulations according to any other criteria reasonably related to the purpose or complexity of the financial operations involved. The Commission has the authority to inquire into and investigate the internal control procedures of a local board and may require any modifications in internal control procedures which, in the opinion of the Commission, are necessary or desirable to prevent embezzlements or mishandling of public monies.

(v) Penalties. - If a board member or employee of a local board incurs an obligation or pays out or causes to be paid out any funds in violation of this section, the member or employee and the sureties on the official bond are liable for any sums so committed or disbursed. If the finance officer or any properly designated deputy finance officer gives a false certificate to any contract, agreement, purchase order, check, draft, or other document, the finance officer and the sureties on the official bond are liable for any sums illegally committed or disbursed thereby.

(w) Applicability of Criminal Statutes. - The provisions of G.S. 14-90 and G.S. 14-254 shall apply to any person appointed to or employed by a local board, and any person convicted of a violation of G.S. 14-90 or G.S. 14-254 shall be punished as a Class H felon.

(x) Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards. (1937, c. 49, ss. 10, 12; cc. 411, 431; 1939, c. 98; 1957, cc. 1006, 1335; 1963, c. 1119, s. 2; 1967, c. 1178; 1969, cc. 118, 902; 1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1973, cc. 85, 185; c. 1000, ss. 1, 2; 1977, c. 618; 1979, c. 467, s. 20; c. 617; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1262, s. 11; 1991, c. 459, s. 2; 2010-122, s. 18; 2012-4, s. 2.)